A Laois man charged with having over €13,000 of drugs for sale was last week refused legal aid following State objections.
A book of evidence was served at last week’s Portlaoise District Court on Patrick McDonnell, with an address in Mountrath.
Garda Sgt Brian Farrell objected to legal aid, telling the court that the accused, who is on social welfare, drives an 11-reg Mercedes Benz worth €16,500.
He said the car was registered in the name of the accused’s sister, but she had never driven it. Sgt Farrell told the court that he had spoken to the person who sold the car and it had been bought by the accused.
Sgt Farrell said that the accused had allegedly made three lodgements of €1,000 into another person’s account, and he had gambled over €277,000 at four bookmakers in Mountrath and Abbeyleix.
The sergeant alleged that the accused had made comments to the gardaí, claiming he would need a wheelbarrow to carry all his money around, and that he made more money in a day from drug dealing than the gardaí did in a month.
Sgt Farrell also alleged that the accused had said “€10,000 is ice cream money”.
Defence, Ms Louise Troy said the car was registered to the accused’s sister, who lives in the UK. When she comes to Ireland she drives it.
Sgt Farrell said that the accused had been stopped driving the car lots of time and the gardaí had never seen anyone else driving it.
He said the accused’s sister had said she never drove it.
After hearing the evidence, Judge Catherine Staines said that defence had raised no issue over the garda’s claims that hundreds of thousands of Euro had been gambled, nor had defence contested the comments allegedly made by the accused to the gardaí.
Judge Staines refused legal aid in the district court, but said he could apply for legal aid in the circuit court.
The accused was released on bail, with conditions that he reside at 7 New Line Close, Mountrath; he observe a curfew of 11pm to 7am; he sign on daily at the garda station; and he be available to the gardaí by phone.
The matter was sent forward to the circuit court on June 13.